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Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 05:13 AM #11
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Very interested in this game (but will have to familiarize myself with what makes Pathfinder different from 3.5).
I'm thinking of a subtle behind-the-scenes manipulator with lots of connections and lots of ways to keep his hands clean...yet no compunctions about getting them dirty if he has to (and can do it without getting caught).
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 05:32 AM #12
Lama (Lvl 13)
- Join Date
- May 2006
- Columbia, MO
- Read 0 Reviews
° Block GlassEye
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 10:35 AM #13
Lama (Lvl 13)
- Join Date
- May 2006
- Columbia, MO
- Read 0 Reviews
° Block GlassEye
Brick & Porcelain worked in a house of ill repute. Brick served as bouncer, hired muscle and self-appointed protector of Porcelain. Porcelain was a male prostitute with a specialty of dressing in costumes to fulfill the johns' fantasies. After the house shut down (gang war, law crackdown, whatever) the two escaped to a new city but Porcelain uses his skills in assuming different guises to infiltrate and impersonate for pulling cons and acquiring information.
A twist: no matter how good Porcelain thinks his disguises are Brick, his simple-minded brother, can always see through them.
Porcelain: Human rogue (spy) with specialty in Bluff & Disguise and an affinity for small, easily concealed weapons.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 12:07 PM #14
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Wow, lots of great responses! Although either everyone's on a very different time zone than me, or my "active" time online yesterday was just very different than everyone else's.
Let's take stock of what we have, then I need to run. I'll be back in a few hours with some more updates on the setting and some specific answers to some questions I saw out there.
HolyMan - human scout/thug
GlassEye - human spy (or maybe something else)
Deuce Traveler - human sniper/scout (or something similar)
kinem - human cutpurse
Kaodi - not sure if he's available to play or not, but pitched an interesting concept
That makes six, and while I said 3-5, I'll take six if Kaodi ends up being in. That officially will close recruitment, though. Anyone else who pops in to express interest will have to be an alternate at this point.
Last edited by Hobo; Wednesday, 12th September, 2012 at 06:24 PM.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 01:33 PM #15
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I imagine a theme and tone where the game is "swashbuckling low fantasy sword & sorcery noir, with a not insignificant helping of Warhammer or Call of Cthulhu style horror on the side."
You can use traits, if you like.
Much more setting info coming in the way of posts today. And while I certainly welcome more detailed background, I won't require it; what will be more immediately important is what your character has been up to (some kind of hijinks, no doubt) in just the last few weeks.
Last edited by Hobo; Wednesday, 12th September, 2012 at 01:39 PM.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 01:46 PM #16
Magsman (Lvl 14)
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
The Tolosa Islands are clearly a continuation of the mountain range that runs north-south through the continent, and the inner sea does little to disguise the unity of those ranges. North of the Mezzovian Sea, they are called the Garriga Mountains, south they are called the Romeu Mountains, and smack dab in the middle of the Mezzovian, their feet are submerged and only their craggy tops protrude as warm-water islands.
The Tolosas are rocky, and cliffs and fjords dot their shores, but a number of small fishing towns, villages and trading or stopping points ring the shoreline where geography permits. The interiors of the islands are a mixture of farmland--olives, grapes and more grow abundantly here--and subtropical mountain rainforest.
While the Tolosas are not heavily populated, and much of the population is rural or small fishing, or transitory mercantile in nature, the Tolosa Islands are still considered an integral part of the Terrasan heartland, and prior to their spread northwards and the foundation of the Terrasan Empire, the ancient Terrasans plied their fishing craft in and around the Tolosa Islands and the shores of the Mezzovian Sea immediately to the south.
A growing recent threat is that of piracy. The isolated, sheltered and hidden fjords and coves on many of the tiny, mostly uncharted islands that make up the Tolosa chain are the perfect hiding places for pirate ships, and as the once formidable power of the Terrasan navy gradually fades, pirates have become emboldened and more commonplace. On the long island Gandesa, an independent city that is harbor to many pirates and privateers, Porto Liure, has grown up and managed to get grudging recognition and acceptance from the Empire as an independent city-state.
Gandesa is a long, thin island with a generally north-south orientation that serves as the "breakwater" for the Tolosa Isles; the easternmost major island, and the first one that one comes to if one were to sail directly west from the eastern edges of the Mezzovian Sea. Gandesa is sparsely populated, and is in fact made up of low, mountainous wilderness. There are few large-bodied creatures on Gandesa, with the exception of deer, peccaries, and a strain of feral dogs, but strange rumors and ghost stories about cryptic inhabitants of the island are numerous.
As part of the Tolosa Isles, Gandesa was long considered an integral part of the Terrasan Empire, and in fact part of the original Terrasan homeland. However, as its population gradually declined, its small fishing villages and rural farming communities were abandoned and over-run by the subtropical forest, the Terrasan presence faded as well. More recently, it became a haven for pirates, smugglers and other ne'er-do-wells, and a city of sorts grew in a sheltered bay to the north that accomodated this illegal traffic. As the city grew, it became powerful enough to actually challenge the navy of Terrasa with its pirate hit and run tactics, guerilla warfare and other "dirty tricks" to the point where the Empire was losing money in attempting to control it.
When Jacobo Bernat, a pirate captain and all 'round Rennaissance man stepped into power in Porto Liure with an offer for semi-legitimacy and a cessation of hostilities if the Empire recognized the city as an independent city-state and Bernat himself as the Lord of the City, they were only too happy to acquiece and put an end to the costly conflict.
Today, the Lord (or Lady, as the case happens to be) of Porto Liure is Damiata Aldonša Bernat, a descendent via twisted family tree, of Jacobo Bernat himself. The Bernat family has managed to maintain leadership over Porto Liure for a hundred and fifty years, in the face of incredible pressure from the humiliated and wary Terrasan navy, but as Terrasan sea power fades, her role there has become easier. Today, her plan is to stoke the fires of resentment and independence between the various cities that make up what remains of the Terrasan Empire, and encourage portegnos (as the locals are called) into privateership with Letters of Marque. As such, she's also extremely careful of which suitors she entertains, as giving up Porto Liure's independence as part of a dynastic union is the last thing that she wants.
Despite this rough around the edges background, Porto Liure remains a destination for nobles from Terrasa and elsewhere seeking titillation, illicit pleasures, or simply duty and tax free shipping of profitable goods around the Mezzovian Sea. While it has a seedy underbelly that threatens at all times to spill out, there is still a veneer of civilization and civility that encourages immigrants. As the Terrasan cities fade, Porto Liure's fortunes continue to grow.
The population of Porto Liure is mostly made up of ethnic Terrasans--the dregs of Terrasan society to be sure, but Terrasans nonetheless. Despite this, it is certainly not a Terrasan colony by any means, and is perhaps the most cosmopolitan population in the entire region. Great numbers of balshatoi, qizmiri (jann and human both), hamazi (hellspawn and human both), kurushi, cavusti, vucari and more exotic ethnic groups yet roam the narrow streets of Porto Liure. While, naturally, many of these people are those who were in some way unfit to continue living in the society of their birth, more and more they are legitimate and even honored citizens of Porto Liure, and after more than 150 years, many of them consider themselves native portegnos, having been part of Porto Liure for generations now.
While Porto Liure retains a veneer of civilization and order, in the lower class neighborhoods in particular, this is not readily apparent. Organized crime is a major part of life in Porto Liure, and the cynical say that Lady Bernat herself is only the most prominent and powerful of many warlords, and the City Watch is her cadre of troops.
Porto Liure is infamous as a haven for pirates and privateers, but in truth, its infamy is even deeper still. Known as particularly--and even peculiarly--picturesque, it has drawn artists, poets, the idle rich and other "sensitive" types for generations, who wander--hopefully carefully, given the towns' somewhat exaggerated (but not entirely) lawless reputation--its cramped narrow streets, and its sultry seaside views.
While the Mezzovian is warm, particularly the smaller Chistau Sea which makes up the shores of the port city, cool sighing winds blowing off the hills west of the sea, and when the cool air from the heights meets the warmer air of the harbor, it coalesces into a drizzling rain or persistant fog. Strange voices are often heard in this fog. Skeptics say that that's just what happens in a busy city when you can't see and sound is either muffled or curiously amplified and carried in turns, but the locals who live in the poorer parts of town are not skeptics. People disappear, or are found dead and curiously bloated, mummified, slashed or drained of blood or otherwise mutilated and desecrated. Again; sceptics point to the lawless nature of the town and find explanations for these bizarre murders in gang warfare or other more mundance solutions. And soon enough, the murders are officially closed and forgotten; there is enough mundane murder done in Porto Liure as it is, and few miss folks from the poor neighborhoods anyway. But the locals know that Porto Liure's infamy as a nest of pirates is secondary to its less well-known but eternal nature as a haunted place, ruled in secret by ghosts, spectres and other supernatural entities. This had led to the nickname many locals give to Porto Liure; Port of Ghosts, or Ghostport. Anyone who uses this nickname is almost certainly a local from one of the poorer neighborhoods in the city, but as a picaresque nickname in literature, folklore and stories told abroad, it is also gaining popularity.
One of the most famous of these in old tavern tales, beside that of Dog, is Black Maria. Although her original identity is unclear and there are many claims, most see her as the today unrecognized first daughter-in-law of Jacobo Bernat himself, the architect of Porto Liure's free city-state status. Maria, the fifth daughter of an ancient Terrasan house, was as decadent as they came, and the story goes that she kidnapped, tortured and killed up to 500 young girls, drinking (or even bathing in) their blood. When the hue and outcry came to be more than old Bernat could ignore, she was put on trial, hanged, drawn and quartered, and her spiked head was put on the city gates--her "quarters" thrown to sharks in the harbor. Nonetheless, the story of Black Maria doesn't end there.
Claims of sightings of Black Maria's ghost were intermittant throughout the next decades, and a few deaths were even ascribed to her--especially young, female victims who died without apparent cause or motive, especially if they complained before their deaths about being unnaturally frightened or disturbed in some way--usually by advance sightings of the ghost, it is presumed. But twenty years ago, when the face of the moon became a skull, things changed. Now, whenever the moon is full and passes directly through the triangular configuration of the legs of the constellation Herne, Black Maria is said to make a much more substantial revival. In whispered voices, the locals will say that once the legs of Herne were another constellation known as the Black Pharoah's Crown, and when the moon is thus "crowned" the brides of the Black Pharoah--the ghosts of witches and worse the world over--walk the earth to kill again.
It is unclear if this supersition has any basis in reality or not. True, nights when the full moon is in the crown (which happens on average three times every two years) a number of girls go missing. But since they are usually unreported, only those who have eyes to see and pay attention to the signs believe there to be any pattern. Associate lecturer Enrico Sanšez at Porto Liure's small Academy is the foremost expert on local folklore. He's a taciturn, bookish fellow--suspicious and uncommunicative, and prone to easy frights. But when drunk, he occasionally talks in private of his suspicions, theories and speculations about many of the supernatural goings-on in Porto Liure. His pet theory about Black Maria is that the torture and murder of all those girls wasn't just to satisfy her sadistic urges, but was a ritual designed to grant her eternal life. It wasn't ever completed before she was put to death, but it had been sufficiently advanced that the grave had only a tenuous hold on her, and when the moon died, as the expression goes, she was able to transcend her death at certain times. Her goal now is to finish the ritual as quickly as possible and return in full to horrible unlife as an eternal predator on the lives of mankind.
Gods and Religion
Some scholars of theology believe that all the world actually only worships a single pantheon of gods; it's just the names and representations of them that differ, as well as regional importance of one god over another. Others resist that notion, calling each nation's pantheon of gods a unique set, specific to that culture, although cults may migrate from culture to culture from time to time. Be that as it may, these are the gods that have temples in your area, as well as a handful of others that are also worshipped. Although, honestly, people in general are better described as "superstitious" rather than "religious." Offerings and invocations are tossed off out of habit, and people have a healthy respect for the ability of a displeased god to give you a really bad day, but they don't often otherwise pay particular respects to them. Pick whatever domains or favored weapon you think are appropriate if playing a cleric or other class that needs domains.
The way the pantheon works is that no god has "primacy" over another one according to myth. The various gods work in their respective sphere of influence, and their importance varies from region to region. Because the gods appear to be "hands off"; how their worshippers view them, and the popularity of their cults, evolves over time. If the gods exist at all, they may not resemble what mortal worshippers think of them anymore.
The most notable and noticeable of the pantheon are the Four Horsemen, who are frequently associated together on iconography and elsewhere. They are:
•Ciernavo (from Balshatoi Czernavog), also known as the Black Pharaoh, and The Conqueror. Riding a White Horse, and firing a bow into his enemies, Ciernavo is a god associated with the spread of civilization; the wresting of new nations out of wilderness, or out of the ashes of the old, either one. He is pictured as obsidian black, with long hair and a crown-like growth of eight four to six inch horns on his head. The hamazin see him as their patron and father, pointing to their resemblance to the traditional depiction of him as evidence. (Name is slightly revised from the name of the big demon lord in Disney's "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Fantasia, which in turn comes from Slavic mythology. He's also pictured as looking very similar to Graz'zt, the famous demon lord of D&D lore, and is also meant to subtly invoke Nyarlathotep from Lovecraftiana.)
•Peronte (from Balshatoi Perun), the Thunderer. Riding a red horse and swinging a sword that flashes like lightning, Peronte represents war. He is a wild-eyed and wild-haired man, charging into battle on his horse naked except for his warpaint, and his face is obscured by constant crackling of lightning. (Name is a Italianized version of a Slavic thunder god not unlike Thor.)
•Culsans (from ancient Terrasan), the Taker, The Hoarder. Riding a black horse, he's a cold god, associated with weights, measures, scales, money and civilization. Infamous for his miserly attitude, he's also associated with famine, and when famine strikes the land, it is often believed that it is Culsans withholding his bounty because he hasn't been sufficiently propitiated. (Name is an Etruscan god; aspect is pretty much exactly like that of the third Horseman, without being combined or blended with any other source.)
•Caronte (from ancient Terrasan Charun); Death, The King in Yellow. Riding a pale, sickly (or even dead and mummified) horse, Caronte is depicted as an emaciated, hunched, sinister figure wrapped in yellow rags that completely obscure his features (except sometimes a skeletal face), often with a scythe or sickle in his hand, harvesting the lives of those who's time has come. Behind him is another figure walking slowly behind him, a leery, crawling demonic figure of uncertain and inconsistant depiction, known as Orcus or Hell. (Combining the fourth horseman with Charon of Greek mythology (or Charun of Etruscan who had many similarities) with further aspects of the Grim Reaper and Chamber's King in Yellow seemed fun. Caronte is all of them rolled into a single package. Reading the Biblical verse, Death was followed by Hell--not a horseman, but apparently a flunky or assistant to Death.)
Besides the horsemen, several other gods are frequently worshipped or propitiated, or depicted in art and literature around the area. These include (in much more brief format):
•Istaria (uncertain origin of the name, but older versions Ishtar and Ashtarte are noted from old books), a goddess of books, libraries, and knowledge. Also pictured as lascivious and decadent, her worship is famous for it's heirodules, or temple prostitutes.
•Cathulo (uncertain origin of the name, but also known by the alternate name of Dagon), a god who lives under the sea, supposedly dreaming in his underwater palaces, waiting for the day he will rise and flood the land again. His propitiation often includes the pouring of alcohol into the water, to keep him sleepy.
•Susnacco (from ancient Terrasan Susinac), a god of travel with statues in most towns. When in embarking on a long journey, it is often customary to kiss the statue first.
•Selvans, a wild god of the wilderness and the hunt. Tall and lean, with claws and fangs and a skull-like visage, adorned with great antlers, Selvans is a figure that represents the terror the civilized man feels at the wildness of untamed places.
•Moloch (origin of name uncertain), a god of fire and the sun. While seen as friendly in some locations, most see him as untrustworthy and dangerous, and see his hand in devastating wildfires and sere crops alike.
And a few other gods are known to the scholarly, but not to the general public--they have frequently been at the core of dangerous and seditious cults. Worship of--and even knowledge of--these gods has been widely surpressed.
•Demogorgon, a primal god of the earth, said to predate the other gods, and belonging to a much more wild and chthonic order of beings.
•Huudrazai, the blind, idiot Stargod, who sleeps in the blackness of the void, lulled into restfullness by the incessant piping of strange and hidious entities. One day, his cultists say, the piping will stop, jolting Huudrazai to wakefulness, which will initiate the End Times.
•Yaji Ash-Shuthath--also known as Yog-Sothoth, an ancient entity, knowledge of which came in suppressed and forbidden texts from the jann, is The Gate; the way to communicate directly with the gods, in a certainly suicidal and mind-blasting ritual. However, lesser rites remain which skate the edges of sanity, but which canny sorcerers occasionally risk to increase their own power.
And there are even local deities, like the worship of Dog in the area around Porto Liure (see below).
There are a great many lesser gods, demons, angels, and other spiritual beings believed in by the peoples of the Land of the Three Empires. For the most part, there is little difference between these lesser beings and gods other than magnitude and some of them might have local or cult worship as gods as well. These beings clearly take at least some interest in the affairs of mortals, since hellkin, jann and the Nefili or Nephilim are all supposedly humans, albeit blended somehow with spiritual beings.
In Porto Liure, there's a very unusual cult: the worship of Dog. Dog is a "god" that's actually fairly apparent to the residents of Porto Liure. Everyone knows about him. He lives on the island of Gandesa, not far from the city. He appears to be immortal--he's been there since the city was founded at the very least--and undefeatable. In the early days of Porto Liure, soldiers and sailors tried to hunt or kill Dog, but most were killed and eaten for their efforts.
What exactly is Dog? He's... well, he's a very big dog. About the size of an elephant. His shaggy fur glistens like the shadows of darkest night, and his teeth shine like polished silver. His eyes glow a fiery red.
Mostly Dog sleeps on the island, unseen and hidden from view. Nobody knows where his lair is, despite many efforts to find it over the years. When Dog walks, he leaves dark footprints behind that ooze shadowy tendrils of darkness like oily black smoke, but if one tries to track Dog, the tracks always seem to end in a confusing maze, or circle back on themselves, or otherwise lead one to naught.
Nobody is exactly sure when worship of Dog started. It became apparent that Dog needed to eat. Three times a year, human sacrifices are left for Dog. Usually they are convicted criminals or enemies of the state, but if none are available, occasionally a citizen will be sacrificed. Dog prefers young maidens, but will take anyone that's not too old and stringy. If Dog isn't satiated through sacrifice, he will slip into Porto Liure at night and eat anyone he can find in the streets, leaving nothing but bloody tatters in his wake. In the summer of 421--almost 150 years ago now--Dog massacred no less than 43 men, women and children in a single night and was seen by many more, before slipping off again before sunrise, leading to the last attempt to hunt and kill him. Unsuccessfully, of course--he wasn't even found after the Bloody Saturday Massacre, as it came to be called.
Another curious Liurism is that portegnos frequently swear by Dog, even if they don't belong to the admittedly small cult of Dog. "By Dog!". "By Dog's rancid breath!" or "By the fleas of Dog's greasy pelt!" and countless other variations pepper the speech of most native portegnos.
Last edited by Hobo; Wednesday, 12th September, 2012 at 06:47 PM.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 02:15 PM #17
Lama (Lvl 13)
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
- Hampton, VA
- Read 0 Reviews
° Block Deuce Traveler
At the start of the above reading, I was definitely leaning towards smuggler as the merchant trade and piracy seemed to dominate the background. However, now that the city-state is firmly established it seems that the supernatural and violent murder is in the present forefront. I'm likely going to go with a sniper/roof runner type, or a sniper/scout as GlassEye suggested.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 02:30 PM #18
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Besides Porto Liure, the following are some of the nations and peoples of the surrounding area.
• Terrasa is the large power that surrounds Porto Liure, in many ways. While it styles itself an Empire, in reality, it's a fragile dynastic union between half a dozen fracteous city-states or smaller countries, and the control the King in Terrasa wields over them is very loose at best, and loosening quickly, as the king is a vain, and foolish man who pays little heed to matters of state.
The Terrasans are kinda like Renaissance Italians, or Spaniards from right around the time of the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella and the uniting of Castille and Aragon into the country that would become Spain.
• The Northmen come from the mountainous shores north of the Mezzovian sea. While many of them are subjects of the Terrasan Empire and have integrated and hybridized with that culture over generations, many of them pay little heed to politics, and wander the wilds as their ancestors have done for many years. Northmen are not too unlike Vikings of Cossacks, and names from this group will sound Norse or Slavic.
• Even further to the north, where the weather starts to get warmer (Southern Hemisphere, although that's neither here nor there) is Baal Hamazi. Once a mighty empire, ruled by the unearthly hamazi (although populated by many, many humans as well), Baal Hamazi is now a memory. The Empire collapsed about two hundred years ago, and now is fractured city-states and smaller kingdoms, each trying to reclaim the legacy of their grand forebearers. Between them, hostile nomadic tribesmen claim the land, making travel often difficult and dangerous. Think of ancient Egypt combined wiht the Wild West, except that instead of ancient, the fall of this kingdom is relatively recent. Between the city-states is not unlike the Comancheria or the lands of the Huns or Mongols. The hamazi themselves are hellkin, mortal descendents of some angel or demon, they claim. With sooty black or gray skin, yellow "wolf" eyes, and a small ring of horns on their heads forming a crown, they have the appearance of the Black Pharaoh himself, a sign of nobility. They claim. Think Nightcrawler combined with Darth Maul, or perhaps a slightly more human-like Graz'zt. Conceptually, the hamazin are not unlike tieflings, and rules for such can be used to represent them.
There are other hellkin besides just the hamazin, although they are rare, and their appearances are much more varied. Nobody knows exactly what causes them, although since the day that the moon's face changed and it rose in the sky looking like a grinning skull-faced visage of death, the birth of them has been more common. Many believe that they are cursed.
• Far to the east is the caliphate of Qizmir. Qizmir is, as you can imagine, loosely styled on an Arabian Nights kind of theme. However, it's also too far away to play a direct role in this campaign. However, many Qizmiri come to Porto Liure, usually far-flung merchants, ambassadors, merchants, adventurers, or pirates. Far to the east (although on the westernmost fringe of Qizmir's orbit) is the small semi-independent sultanate of Sarabasca, a city-state that is a hybrid of Terrasan and Qizmiri culture. In many ways, Sarabasca is a rival to Porto Liure, as it is also a major harborage of Barbary pirates, and some captains indeed put in at both ports as the occasion requires.
In addition to the human inhabitants of Qizmir, the ruling class are the jann, mortal descendents of inhabitants of the City of Brass, so they claim. Some of these have made it as far west as Porto Liure (and beyond) although they certainly are rare, still. With brick red skin, fiery yellow eyes, and wild blond hair that occasionally reminds viewers of a dancing flame, the jann also have a common appearance. Conceptually, they are basically fire genasi, which in Pathfinder are mirrored by the ifrit (although curiously, I'd already been using ifrit as my preferred transliteration of the word better known to D&D players are efreet. Oh, well.) You can easily use the stats for these if you wish to play one.
• Northeast of Porto Liure, between the easternmost city-state of Terrasa and the wild place of Sarabasca is another kingdom, Tarush Noptii, the benighted kingdom of vampires. It is said that over the capital city it is always night, although few have been able to report this reliably, as few leave the capital. What causes this astronomical improbability is unknown, and why it should be is similarly unknown (vampires in my setting are not necessarily vulnerable to sunlight--although they don't like it, of course.) Luckily for everyone else, the vampires tend to be fairly insular, and rarely venture abroad. Many of the Tarushans, however, escape as they can. They are rarely trusted by outsiders. Although rare, it has been reliably reported that vampires or ghouls have traveled with wandering Tarushan gypsies, feeding on the folks that they pass by. Tarushans often have names that would sound Hungarian or Romanian to us. And hey, Pathfinder has rules for a dhampyr! I hadn't actually considered integrating them into the setting, but why the heck not?
• There are a few other nations and peoples, although I hadn't quite gotten around to converting any of them into Pathfinder directly. Some of the wild forests are home to the vucari or changelings, the descendents of werewolves who's wild blood has lost much of its potency over the years. They also live in ghettos in many cities of the southlands, and some of them have an association with organized crime. Conceptually, they are not unlike shifters, first debuted in Eberron. For a quick and dirty conversion, I'd represent them mechanically with half-orcs who have the Bestial and Forest Walker alternate race traits. We also have the nephilim, also the descendents of outsiders; fallen angels who followed their leader Samyasa into forbidden union with women of mortal birth. Occasionally, their progeny still pop up, seemingly at random. They are best represented mechanically by aasimars. Since my tone is much more low fantasy sword & sorcery with a dash of horror, it's important to note, however, that unlike aasimars normally in D&D, the are not the blessed progeny of righteous angels, they are the cursed progeny of fallen angels... and the cynical often point out that there is little difference between angels and demons anyway other than that angels are better looking and have better PR.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 05:27 PM #19
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Also, although I haven't yet added any content to it yet, I just created an Obsidian Portal page for this campaign here. I'll actually get to work bulking that out over the next few days while everyone nails down characters.
Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 06:22 PM #20
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Porto Liure has a reputation as a lawless, anarchic place. That's not entirely true. One of the conceits for its very existance; a necessary caveat for Terrasa accepting its bid as an independent city-state in the first place, is the establishment and enforcement of a rule of law in Porto Liure. Agreeing to do so was old Jacobo Bernat's key compromise in his bid to establish himself as the newly minted Lord of Porto Liure at the end of the Pirate Wars 150 years ago. How seriously that endeavor has been taken over the years has, of course, waxed and waned. At its most stringent, the streets were nearly as clean as in any Terrasan city, and at its most lax, the Lord of Porto Liure was little more than among the most prominent gangster warlords in the city, with the City Watch as his personal enforcers. Naturally, most of the time, it's somewhere in between.
But even at its most strident, the streets of Porto Liure have never really been clean. It's just not in the nature of Liurans to roll over and accept too much authority, and the result of that is that organized crime is one of the most enduring and notable features of the city.
Currently, the following are among the most prominent elements of organized crime in the city.
- The Cherskii Mafia. Headquartered "overseas", this mafia was formed and remains run to this day by bosses amongst the hamazin. Originally meant as a method to raise money and resources for a resurgent "glorious revolution" and revitalization of Baal Hamazi itself, as the years have passed, the patriotic zeal has proven fleeting. Most likely, the organized crime business is simply more profitable. Although nominally run by hamazin hellkin, in reality, they tend to be distant and rarely seen authority figures. Much of the actual muscle of these gangs are made up of shaggy urban changelings and local humans. They deal in the usual vices--prostitution (not strictly illegal in Porto Liure, although discouraged in some locales), smuggling, drugs, protection rackets, bribery of officials, and the occasional contract killing.
- The Union of the Snake. A small group in Porto Liure, this is actually a Sarabascan outfit that specializes in assassination and poisonings. Because their reputation is so good, the business is incredibly lucrative, and they can charge so much, the Union has surprising clout given their small numbers. They are much more specialized than most, however.
- The Castiada Crime Family. A local Terrasan family business, which has grown over the years to be a major player in the city. Ruled by the "Old Gray Lady", it's not entirely clear who this person is. It's not entirely clear that it is in fact a single person, or even a person at all. Commonly, it's believed that the Old Gray Lady is a leader in disguise, and the actual running of the family is confined to a small group or triumvirate who take turns donning the Old Gray Lady's robes when the occasion demands. Some have made wilder claims; that the Old Gray Lady is the ghost of an ancient Castiada matron who still rules the family from beyond the grave being one popular tavern story, but if anyone knows the truth, they're not saying. In addition to playing in the usual vices, the Castiadas have made a concerted effort in the past to corral all the cat-burglars and pick-pockets in the city under their umbrella. They haven't been completely successful, but they've managed to take a cut from a fair amount of them, and freelance operatives better learn to take very small, discrete steps around town or risk their brutal wrath.
- The Fuzeta da Ponte family. Another local gang, but one with tendrils extending throughout the western Mezzovian region. Old Man Heitor, the capo emeritus of the family, spent many of his younger years at sea as a pirate, and only retired to take over the organized crime business from his father when the sea lanes got too hot for him. He's now stepped aside for his own son, Leonardo, who plied the seas with a little more legitimacy, sailing with a letter of marque issued by the Lord of Porto Liure himself. Fantastically connected, both locally with the nobility, abroad with various important VIPs throughout the region, and with a number of old pirates and smugglers on the waters as well, the Fuzeta da Ponte family might be the most potent player in the city, although their strength is difficult to estimate. Although they dabble in everything, their specialty is smuggling and piracy, and many pirates on the clear blue waters of the Mezzovian are sailing with debts owed to the Fuzeta da Ponte family, which they ensure they use as leverage to take a cut.
- Kaz's Crew. Kazimir Lageb°ter's ancestors were from the north, as a casual glance at his name suggests. However, his family has lived in Porto Liure for generations. Seen by many as a newcomer, and therefore with some disdain, Kazimir's success derives from his reputation for potent, dangerous, and cursed witchery, which he learned from an old vampire hag he took as a lover while traveling in Tarush Noptii. At least, so say the rumors. Regardless, his rise has been meteoric, and his crew have an almost unnatural, offputting mien to them. Few can say to have directly witnessed any action of witchcraft, but everyone whispers about it nonetheless.
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